Also called the Caveman, Primal, Hunter/Gatherer and Stone Age Diet, implementing a Paleo lifestyle may seem daunting to you at first, but it’s easier than you may think.
Living within a Paleo Framework means eating a widely varied diet consisting of:
- High quality animal protein (think wild meats, pastured chicken and 100% grass-fed beef)
- Healthy fats (from both animal and vegetable sources)
- Vegetables (of all colors, shapes and sizes)
- Nuts and seeds
When moving from a diet of processed grain products to a Paleo diet, the trick is to crowd out the grains, legumes and dairy with healthy veggies, protein and fat in a way that flows with your usual daily routine. Avoiding deprivation is a must—the more you feel deprived, the less you will want to follow through. That’s how most conventional diets fail. Making the shift toward a Paleo diet is a lifestyle change. Something that’s meant to last forever should be easily sustainable and forgiving.
Here are some crucial tips and tricks to make your transition to Paleo easier:
‘1. More Veggies Diet’ vs. ‘No Bagels Diet’
Focus on the positive to avoid feelings of deprivation. Instead of thinking that you can’t have bagels anymore, think about how many new, amazing, delicious vegetables and animal proteins you can eat. Not to mention all of the coconut products: Coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut flakes…
2. Find an Animal Protein Source that You Love and Buy the Highest Quality that You Can Afford
There are so many nutritional benefits from eating grass fed or pastured meat. Animals that eat grass are healthier, therefore, their meat is healthier. Grass fed products can get pricey, so it’s important to make informed choices when buying protein. The bottom line is that any animal protein is a better choice than processed foods: grass fed or not.
3. Learn to Love Fat
Fact: Fat does not make you fat. In the 1980s, low fat diets became all the rage. Fat was demonized, and we started to believe that dietary fat makes us fat. This simply isn’t true. It’s actually the excess carbohydrates/sugars in conjunction with dietary fats that actually make you fat. Learn to love fat in the form of animal protein, avocado, coconut, nuts and seeds. Not only is fat the best source of fuel; it also makes your meals more satisfying!
4. Beware of Paleo Baked Goods
Although I have enjoyed many a Paleo Banana Muffin, these “paleo” baked goods miss the point. The point is to reprogram your body to respond to high quality, whole foods and to create the most stable and efficient internal environment possible. Paleo baked goods just replace your bad habit, calorie dense, nutritionally deficient, refined, carbohydrate crutches. Use your best judgment, and consider Paleo baked goods and desserts to be those “sometimes treats.”
5. Let Go of Your Meal Boundaries
You CAN eat dinner leftovers for breakfast and breakfast foods for lunch. Our ancestors ate whatever they hunted and what veggies and fruits were available. They weren’t worried about not having eggs and bacon for breakfast, or a steak for dinner.
6. Get Support
Find a community of people going through the same transition, and support each other. There are hundreds of Paleo blogs and Facebook pages out there where people share recipes and support each other on this Paleo Journey.
7. Find Balance
There are many non-food factors that influence how we make our food choices. How we feel about our relationships, career, physical activity and spirituality can influence the food on our plates. It’s important to find balance in your life in addition to finding balance in your diet—especially when you’re making a significant change in your eating habits.
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